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Italy is the second largest gaming market in Europe and has the most interesting retail vs. internet scene, with at least 80% of players still playing on the land.
We spoke with Evoplay’s CCO Vladimir Malakchi about their plans to capture the market and how their award-winning games have proven to be a valuable asset for their new Italian partners.
Congratulation on the multiple deals Evoplay has signed as you expand to Italy! What are your latest partnerships and what do you plan to do in order to grow the market further?
We appreciate your support! We are very excited about the recent partnerships we have made and our plans to expand. In 2020 we entered Italy and over the last three years have ensured a constant growth of interest, trust, and openness to try out our newest titles.
I believe that any commercial success depends on the relationships and partnerships we create with the operators who we work with. We are proud to be working with some of the biggest brands in the country. The last year was our best ever, as we secured deals with Tuko Productions and Scommettendo, among others. Our award-winning instant games and slots have been a great differentiator and we are delighted with the positive feedback.
In terms of our plans for growth, we are focused on creating games that will appeal to Italians and building even stronger relationships with our partners. The unique gamification features will be crucial in boosting our engagement. We’re excited by Italy’s potential and confident that our unique approach to gamification will resonate with both players and partners.
What was the main reason that Evoplay chose Italy as its key growth market? What would you say about the online audience in Italy?
The increasing popularity of online gaming over land-based is our main driver. Online market revenue is expected to increase by 6.69% annually between 2023-2027. This will reach a total of EUR3,68bn. The country has a diverse and large audience, which offers a lot of opportunity. Online, there is a market of 20 million people with a 60:40 ratio of men to women.
We have many creative options to choose from, given the near-parity. Evoplay fills a growing need for innovative entertainment, as the 25-34-year-old age group is one of the largest segments. The level of smartphone usage is also important to note. With over 80% using the latest generation of smartphones, it’s essential that game content be mobile-optimised.
Italy is not only one of Europe’s largest gaming markets, but it also has a unique heritage of retail with up to 90% of gaming taking place offline. What are your strengths to help operators convert to the online world.
Italy’s rich gaming history sets it apart. Online gaming has many advantages, including convenience, greater variety, and bonuses and promotions, such as quests and tournaments. In-game and outside-game gamification can be used to increase player engagement, and ultimately improve conversion rates for both sports bettors as well as offline players. These in-game and outside-game gamification tools add to the excitement of online gaming, creating a sense of community.
We are proud of our ability at Evoplay to create engaging and immersive games that have strong visual and sound elements, which can create an exciting experience similar to a real casino. This is especially important for the Italian market where players are used to playing offline. It also helps improve conversion rates for both sports bettors as well as offline players. We focus on gamification and incentives to our partners because of our unique features.
We also work closely together with our partners in order to integrate our games seamlessly into their platforms. This makes it easier for players to play and access them. Our games are reliable and secure because we know that trust is important in Italy.
What are the gaming trends you see for Italian players? How are you meeting that demand in terms of slot types? Which Evoplay game is the most popular?
Football is the most popular sport in Italy. It is a massive industry, with millions of bettors. The gaming industry in Italy has been impacted by this. Instant games are becoming increasingly popular. They provide a nice alternative to waiting for live sporting events when betting. Instant games are popular because they provide instant results. It’s refreshing to have a game that gives you the result immediately. Football-themed games are perfect for this. We’ve also noticed that Italians enjoy playing chicken-themed games, so we will continue to explore this avenue!
Our goal is to provide the most advanced and innovative gaming experience for our Italian customers. We are actively meeting this demand. The top performing games on the Italian market include Penalty Shootout, Fruit Super Nova Game Collection Elven Princesses and Hot Triple Sevens. The games are popular with players because of their captivating gameplay, stunning graphics and exciting bonus features.
How can you, as a studio that is truly innovative, help online operators increase their conversion rates for both sports bettors who are offline and players who are online? What is it that you can offer that’s unique?
It is important to the Italian culture that sports, and especially sports betting, are a part of it. We recognize that importance and are proud to provide RNG-based sports betting games.
Our games can also be seamlessly integrated with sports betting platforms. This allows players to switch quickly between gaming and betting on sports, while still enjoying the same experience. Evoplay’s RNG-based football pack is an important component of this commitment, as it provides a unique experience that enhances the overall betting experience.
The success of Shootout is a testament to this. This instant game has a unique betting system that keeps players interested and engaged. The game allows players to experience a realistic penalty shot-out, where they can choose which nation they represent and shoot for the goal.
What is Evoplay’s vision of Italy in 2023 and 2024, last but not least? What is your plan to grow even more in the market, and entertain players?
Our vision for Italy is centered on continued innovation and growth. Our European strategy is focused on the market, and we are committed to offering players in Italy the best possible gaming experience.
We’re launching a variety of new games that are tailored for local audiences. The Series Penalty Shootout will be back with a new game. We’re also working on our next flagship title, which will be truly unique and fresh. We’re confident that it will be well received by players.
Our partners can also choose from a variety of game packages, which include marketing and engagement activities. Gamification is a major driver in converting land-based players online. We are data-driven, and will therefore be collecting all data and feedback received from our operators. Based on this information, we’ll prepare our next moves and make predictions for the year 2024.